Does the NBA deserve Becky Hammon? Its a question worth asking per year after hoops watchers openly wondered, Does Becky Hammon deserve to teach in the NBA? Hammons career as a three-time college All-American at Colorado State, the all-time leading scorer in the Western Athletic Conference, an unlikely WNBA all-star (after her athleticism was questioned appearing out of college and she wasnt even drafted), and eight years on the San Antonio Spurs staff was viewed as insufficient to earn a gig. Despite the fact that she had recently been the initial woman to be always a paid NBA assistant, and although she coached the Spurs Summer League team with great success, she found herself with her nose pressed against Adam Silvers window. Even though the Gregg Popovich coaching tree before four years has produced head coaches in Charlotte (the bafflingly fired James Borrego) and Boston (Ime Udoka, who unexpectedly led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals), Hammon had not been chosen to fill the vacancies. Teams just like the hapless Portland Trailblazers rejected the opportunity to become section of historyto surpass its monikerand give Hammon her well-earned shot.
But Hammon didnt skip a beat. She signed to coach the NEVADA Aces of the WNBA, and in her first season, her team won the title contrary to the Connecticut Sun. This accomplishment is even more impressive whenever we consider that the WNBA has only 12 teams, instead of the NBAs 30. The concentration of talent in this league is intense. First-round draft picks get cut from their teams, no one blinks. You might have understood if it had taken her time to obtain her sea legs. But Hammon proved herself to be beyond adept at owning a team led by WNBA MVP Aja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, and finals MVP Chelsea Gray.
Along the way, Hammon embarrassed every NBA general manager and franchise owner who decidedthough she had a lot more than paid her dues and her rsum was sparklingthat the leagues players weren’t ready for a female head coach. Sexism may be the only explanation which makes sense.
A couple of years ago, I acquired an up-close view of an especially intense San Antonio Spurs practice, and Hammon was master of her domain, leading drills, talking smack, and commanding the laser-focus of her players. I assumed teams would fall into line not only on her behalf talents but additionally to be able to make history. Instead, I heard people say, Well, those will be the Spurs, so thats different. These were making the case a buttoned-up team of championship vets, renowned because of their professionalism, was easier for Hammon to control. How would she do with a team of 20-year olds? That has been a question that always seemed sexist if you ask me, because having the ability to mold an extremely young team is really a challenge every coach faces, particularly first-year coaches. The theory that this will be a particular problem for Hammon is insulting not merely to her but to the professionalism of NBA players. You can also make the case a team of grizzled vets will be less inclined to accept a woman coach, if someone wished to belch out that one narrative. Needless to say, there are examples of difficulties in accordance with the knowledge of a team, and veteran leadership matters, nonetheless it is ridiculous to argue that Hammon, who’s tougher when compared to a $3 steakwould find this type of challenge insurmountable.
There is absolutely no doubt that Hammon deserves to teach in the NBA. She deserves the attendant financial security that the WNBA, hobbled by under-investment, struggles to supply. But does the NBA deserve Hammon? Whether she makes the jump ought to be her decisionby all rights, teams ought to be waiting with open arms on her behalf. But a league that strains to start to see the value of Hammon is really a league that not merely needs to surpass its commercially curated progressive bona fides; in addition, it needs to mature and hire the very best people for the jobs.